Europe’s Top 10 Enchanting Scenic Roads
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There’s nothing more enchanting than enjoying the great, open roads while soaking up plenty of fresh air and majestic scenery.
From Norway to Germany, down to Italy and all the way to incredible Romania, one thing is for sure – Europe has an abundance of scenic roads!
Whether you prefer to travel by car or go on an exciting motorcycle tour, check out this list of incredibly scenic drives in Europe that you should consider for your next road trip:
Officially known as DN7C, Transfagarasan is a mountain road crossing the Fagaras Mountains and linking Wallachia to Transylvania.
The road was constructed between 1970 and 1974, during a communist time and as a direct “competition” to the beautiful Transalpina, Romania’s highest road.
Transfagarasan climbs to an altitude of 2,042 meters (6,699 ft). Long S-curves and numerous steep hairpin turns make it both a delight and a challenge. Dubbed as “the most amazing road” by the team at Top Gear, arguably one of the world’s most popular auto-related TV shows, the road provides access to Balea Lake, Balea Waterfall, and Poenari Fortress.
It’s highly advisable to visit during the summer months. Due to its high elevation, the road is usually closed until June 30. You may want to avoid the weekends as the area is a popular day trip for those living nearby.
Also known as The Black Forest Highway (or B500), it is only one of the endless number of roads crisscrossing this amazing area. B500 (or route 500) is considered one of the world’s best drives, combing a smooth section elevated above the forest with a dramatic drop going back from the forest to Baden-Baden.
The only downside? It is a major road and it can get busy, so it’s best enjoyed during the early morning.
Though the route is only 60 km/37.20 miles, it can take up to half a day to drive it, including stops, because the viewpoints along the way are simply amazing and there’s a number of short hikes that can be done as side-trips.
Coastal Puglia, Italy
Photo credit: Cris Puscas
Forget the busy Amalfi Coast and, instead, head to Puglia, a less crowded but equally spectacular coast. You can drive on the longest Italian mainland coast, starting in Salento (the “heel” of the boot) and going all the way up to Gargano.
The capital of the region is Bari, which provides quick access to the fascinating Alberobello and its trulli houses. The dramatic landscape features cliff-hugging roads, which may prove a bit challenging at points. For a stretch of road which is both amazing and challenging, try Litoranea, between Vieste and Peschici, a road that has the Adriatic on one side and the mountains on the other.
Transalpina (or DN67C) is the highest road in Romania, crossing through the Parang Mountains. The road connects Novaci to Sebes, linking Oltenia to Transylvania. The highest point is at Urdele Pass at an elevation of 2,145 m (7,037 ft). It provides access to Ranca, a newly developed mountain resort.
The road was built by King Carol II (and finalized in 1938), later to be rebuilt again during World War II by the German troops. It dates back to the Roman times when a road was carved by the troops to reach Sarmisegetusa.
North Coast 500, Scotland
Scotland certainly does not lack in scenic drives but if you are after a particularly stunning long drive, the North Coast 500 is a circuit you cannot miss. It starts in Inverness, snakes along the coast to Applecross, then heads north, passing by Caithness, only to come back again south through Dingwall and finish in Inverness.
The points of interest include amazing castles, stunning mountains, beaches, caves, and of course, a lot of places to stop for a meal.
It’s best to plan the drive during autumn but be aware of the typical weather (or pray for dry conditions). Allow 4 days (at least) to drive the 804.60 km / 500 miles route.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
Costiera Amalfitana (or Amalfi Coast) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an area which amazes the visitor with its beauty. It is a stretch of coastline in Southern Italy.
The only land route along it is the 40km (25miles) Strada Statale 163, which runs from Vietri sul Mare to Positano. The road snakes through picturesque towns and lush forests. A popular tourist destination, Costiera Amalfitana is best enjoyed outside of the peak summer months.
The Romantic Road, Germany
The Romantic Road (Romantische Straße) came to life when Germany was desperate to rebuild its tourism after the war. And they did a great job. Mostly a marketing idea fed by history and tradition, it is currently one of the biggest tourism magnets in the country.
The 350 kilometers (220 miles) road stretches from Würzburg and ends in Füssen. It cuts through cultural and historical places, offering a lot of places to stop for a snack and to take photos. Neuschwanstein Castle, one of the most beautiful European castles, is located around the route.
It is best to plan it as a several days’ self-guided motorbike tour to be able to stop and thoroughly enjoy the sights along the way.
Ruta de Los Pueblos Blancos, Spain
The breathtaking White Villages Route snakes through Andalusia, Spain, and reveals one of the area’s spending sites: the white villages.
Among the many towns and Spanish villages on the route, the most beautiful ones are Arcos de la Frontera, the gateway into the route, Ronda, standing at a dazzling height and offering stunning views of the landscape, Grazalema, which is ideal for nature walks, Vejer de la Frontera, Medina Sidonia, Zahara de la Sierra, Villaluenga del Rosario, Salobreña, lovely seaside village, Benaocaz, an ancient Moorish village, and Setenil de las Bodegas.
Depending on how many places you want to stop in, allow at least 2-3 days for this drive.
Southern Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
The Adriatic Highway connecting Split to Dubrovnik is a spectacular road that will make your heart race. Going from Split to Dubrovnik, briefly passing through Bosnia Herzegovina, the blue Adriatic is on your right and the dramatic Dinaric Alps to your left.
Without any stops, the drive is about four hours. You’ll be tempted but don’t speed through it! Instead, stop and enjoy the cities along the route. After all, nothing is more refreshing than a dip in the sea after long hours on the bike.
Trollstigen (or the Troll’s Path), opened in 1936 and features 11 hairpin bends, amazing mountain views, and quite a bit of adrenaline running through your veins thanks to the 10% incline. The stunning waterfalls along the way also offer amazing photographic opportunities. Stop at the 700-meter (2,300 ft) plateau to enjoy the views and take a break.
Norwegian County Road 63 connects Andalsnes to Validal and is a very popular destination for tourists during the high season. If you’re interested in tackling this unique track, do note that it is closed during fall and winter months.
Dreaming of exploring the Old Continent at a slow pace? Join a guided motorcycle tour in Europe and make the most of your road trip.